Banglalink keen to offload 10% shares for Tk 900cr

Banglalink Digital Communications Limited – the third-largest telecom service provider in the country – is keen to raise Tk900 crore from the stock market.

To this end, the company, which has a paid-up capital of over Tk8,000 crore, will offload 10% of its shares at a face value of Tk10.

Once listed, it will be the company with the highest paid-up capital in the stock market, according to officials at the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).

At the same time, Banglalink will be the third multinational telecom service provider to get listed on Bangladesh’s stock exchanges.

On Tuesday, senior Banglalink officials led by VEON Chief Executive Officer Kaan Terzioglu held a meeting with BSEC Chairman Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam to discuss the listing procedures.

Banglalink is fully owned by Malta’s Telecom Ventures Ltd (previously Orascom Telecom Ventures Ltd), a 100% owned subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding, which is, in turn, a subsidiary of the Dutch holding company VEON.

BSEC Commissioner Shaikh Shamsuddin Ahmed told The Business Standard, “The company wants to raise around Tk900 crore through an initial public offering (IPO) under the fixed price method.”

“The commission is eager to enlist it despite having some indications of weakness in the financial health of the company that needed to be addressed,” he added.

Earlier, multinational telecom service providers Grameenphone and Robi Axiata got listed on the country’s capital market in 2009 and 2020, respectively, by issuing 10% shares each.

Launched in February 2005, Banglalink has recently reached the landmark of 4 crore subscribers.

It has reported a 12.1% growth in revenue for 2022.

Its revenue grew to Tk5,347 crore, up from Tk4,794 crore, while its data revenue grew by 26.6% in 2022.

Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer of the company, said, “Banglalink has been a catalyst for making telecom services affordable for the masses. It has been consistently performing well, and the recent result indicates a strong foundation for future sustainable performance.

“With double-digit revenue growth and an exceptional digital services offering in the market, Banglalink is now serving more than 40 million customers nationwide.”

“VEON sees a long-term opportunity in Bangladesh and would like to make the people of Bangladesh a part of Banglalink’s success story. In line with this, VEON had a good discussion with the BSEC and would be working together to explore future opportunities,” he added.

Source: The Business Standard


57 MNCs apply this year for permission to invest Tk15,000cr


  • India’s leading chemical company Indokem to invest Tk1,500cr
  • Belgium-based Azelis to initially invest around Tk1,200cr
  • Japan-based tire maker Bridgestone to invest Tk2,000cr
  • China’s Sinovac Biotech to start producing Plasma-Derived Medical Products with Tk5,000 cr investment

Infographic: TBS

Infographic: TBS

One of the top Indian chemical companies Indokem is gearing up to invest some Tk1,500 crore in Bangladesh. The company has already received investment approval from the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) and set up a camp office in Dhaka.

Indokem has now applied to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC), seeking permission to open a branch in Bangladesh. They have also sought allocation of land in a private economic zone to set up factories.

Aside from Indokem, 56 other big and small multinational companies (MNCs) have applied to the RJSC this year, seeking permission to open their branches to import, produce and export various products and to market locally.

According to a source in RJSC, these applications are under process.

These companies will invest more than Tk15,000 crore and once they start operation, 30,000 new jobs will be created, RJSC and Bida sources say.

If necessary approvals of these companies are completed this year, they will be able to conduct business and production by next year, Bida officials say.

Sheikh Shoebul Alam NDC, registrar at the office of RJSC, told The Business Standard that a significant number of foreign companies have applied to the RJSC in the last three months.

“The RJSC received these applications from January to 10 March. So many applications in such a short period would be a first,” said Sheikh Shoebul Alam.

Explaining the growing number of interested companies, he said, “It’s because Bangladesh is now known to the world as an investment hub. Especially, the government’s plan to implement 100 economic zones is attracting such investments.”

“Foreign companies are interested in investing in Bangladesh due to the cheap labour and the large market in the country, he added.”

Owner of a reputed law firm, which is assisting nine of the 56 companies in the approval process, said if these companies get all approvals required from the government, this just might be the year of highest foreign investment in the country so far.

According to the RJSC sources there are 2,79,167 public, private limited companies, foreign companies, partnership firms and one person companies in the country as of last February. Among them 1,051 are foreign companies.

According to Bida data, “New foreign investment worth about Tk11,643 crore came in 2021 and Tk15,000 crore in 2022. Bangladesh Bank data says in 2022, foreign companies including new and old ones have invested about $3.5 billion.

Belgium based multinational company “Azelis”, one of the world’s leading multinational companies supplying raw materials for pharma, food, agricultural, chemicals for the textile, personal care (cosmetics) and life science products, is going to begin its operations in Bangladesh with a huge investment.

According to a source, the company will initially invest around TK1,200 crore in Bangladesh.

Aparna Khurana, managing director, Azelis-India told The Business Standard, “Azelis plans to lead in the Bangladesh Market.”

She did not disclose the figure of investment but hinted that the figure will be higher than other companies in the sector in Bangladesh.

RJSC sources said, application of the Belgium-based MNC is under process.

Japan-based motor tire manufacturer Bridgestone Corporation has already secured approval from Bida to set up a factory for manufacturing tires for the local market and also to export to various countries.

Their application is also under process and expected to get final approval by May-June, said RJSC sources.

A Bangladeshi official of Bridgestone Corporation told TBS that the company will initially invest around Tk2,000 crore.

The official said that Bida has already approved their proposal.

Bridgestone has sought land at the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (BSEZ) in Araihazar, Narayanganj.

After the approval of RJSC, some 17 different types of approvals are required for foreign companies to set up a factory. Bida’s One Stop Service Centre assists the companies with these necessary approvals.

The Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, which makes a Covid-19 vaccine, is going to start producing Plasma-Derived Medical Products (PDMP) in Bangladesh with an investment of Tk5,000 crore.

An official of Sinovac Biotech (Bangladesh) Ltd told TBS that they are also waiting for the approval from the RJSC.

Kevin Zhang, general manager of Sinovac Biotech (Bangladesh) Ltd, told TBS “Bangladesh is one of the most important targeted countries to produce and manufacture plasma-based medicine. Before coming to Bangladesh, we have already established some branches in South America, Chile, Colombia and Turkey. We plan to establish more branches in different countries.”

As of now, Bangladesh, like other low- and middle-income countries, imports 100% of the plasma-based products, requiring a lot of foreign currency.

Barrister Omar Sadat, president of Bangladesh-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI) said that foreign investment is constantly increasing in Bangladesh. However, there are obstacles to approvals that need to be resolved.

“The government wants to increase foreign investment. But due to some bureaucratic complications, many foreign companies often turn away,” he pointed out,

According to Bida sources, of the 56 companies, 20 will invest in different economic zones while the rest will set up their point of operation and manufacturing plants in different regions of the country, including the outskirts of Dhaka and Chattogram.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the government is working to attract such multinational and foreign companies to invest in Bangladesh.

“The government will provide all kinds of facilities to foreign companies to do business and manufacture in Bangladesh,” he said, adding, “The Government will be able to collect huge revenues and at the same time a large number of people will find employment.”


Source: The Business Standard. 


Local production of pharma raw materials gaining traction

Pharmaceutical companies are gradually enhancing their capacity to produce the raw materials needed to make medicines, which will go on to reduce Bangladesh’s over-reliance on imports and augment the country’s competitive edge in the global market.

In the last 12 years, the value of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) made in the country grew four times to more than Tk 2,000 crore thanks to the entry of more firms in the segment in recent years. It was about Tk 500 crore in 2010.

“The pharmaceuticals sector will not face severe challenges after the graduation of Bangladesh from the group of the least-developed countries in 2026 as we are building our capacity of making APIs,” said Abdul Muktadir, chairman and managing director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals.

Currently, 15 firms, including Eskayef, Square, Beacon and Beximco, produce APIs, up from 10 a couple of years ago, said SM Shafiuzzaman, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, which represents 265 domestic drug-makers.

Local companies meet 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the annual demand for APIs, according to Monjurul Alam, director for global business development at Beacon Pharmaceuticals.

“We have a vast opportunity to invest in API manufacturing. This will allow the sector to compete in the global market.”

He believes if APIs are produced in sufficient quantities, pharmaceutical companies will be able to buy them immediately. “This will reduce the lead time.”

A significant development in API production will provide a huge gain to the pharmaceuticals industry in a country where 97 per cent of the demand for medicines is met through local manufacturing.

Although API production has not grown in keeping with the pharmaceutical sector, local companies produce high-quality raw materials, albeit on a limited scale, helping the drug industry add value to their products.

And Shafiuzzaman thinks Bangladesh would not be able to manufacture 100 per cent of the required APIs due to patent issues.

Currently, Bangladesh has to depend on imports to meet around 85 per cent of requirements for APIs. This costs the country about $1.3 billion annually.

The country has made major progress in completing the construction of the API Industrial Park in Gazaria of Munshiganj.

Syed Shahidul Islam, the immediate past project director of the park, said the physical development work of the initiative has been completed and 27 companies have been handed over plots for setting up factories.

Acme Laboratories, UniMed UniHealth Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, and Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical Industry have already set up their plants. Of them, Healthcare Pharmaceuticals is about to begin trial production.

“We are ready for commissioning,” said Md Halimuzzaman, chief executive officer of Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.

A central waste treatment plant has been set up in the park at a cost of Tk 100 crore and this is about to be commissioned.

In Bangladesh, companies are also raising their capacity to manufacture finished formulation, which includes both small molecule synthetic drugs and complex biologics and vaccines.

And Muktadir believes that the rising API production would help the pharmaceuticals sector grow its share in the global generic drug market, valued about $400 billion.

Local companies export products to 157 countries in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Europe.

Medicines exports rose more than 11 per cent year-on-year to $188 million in 2021-22, data from the Export Promotion Bureau showed. The pharmaceuticals exports have grown almost three folds in the last seven years.

Pharma-makers also think that Bangladesh should focus on potential API markets across the world. The global market is estimated to reach $216 billion in 2027.

“Diplomatic efforts should be initiated so that once API is available, Bangladesh can have a ready market,” said Muktadir.

Beacon Pharmaceuticals’ Alam said there was no need to worry about the challenges Bangladesh would face in the post-LDC era.

“This is because we have already introduced pharma products in the local market and these products should be considered as prior art.”

Prior art is any evidence that one’s invention is already known.


Interests of gig economy workers remain unprotected: experts

Bangladesh has seen tremendous growth in its gig economy over the past decade as nearly a million people in the country now provide online freelancing, outsourcing, ride sharing and delivery services, according to a paper presented at a seminar yesterday.

Despite the expansion, the interests of workers in the gig economy, a labour market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers rather than full-time employees, remains unprotected in absence of policies.

Lack of quality employment, insecurity of jobs and absence of insurance against injury during work are the major issues for workers in the gig economy.

“The job contracts of many platform workers are ambiguous,” said Mohammad Mahfuz Kabir, research director of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), while presenting the paper on challenges and opportunities for the gig economy in Bangladesh.

BIISS organised the event at its auditorium, where Mashiur Rahman, economic affairs adviser to the prime minister, spoke among others. Zaidi Sattar, chairman of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, chaired the seminar.

In his presentation, Kabir said the expansion of the gig economy as seen from the growth ridesharing in the country, food and parcel delivery, and freelancing has created jobs. But this has not “diminished worry” among workers.

“Massive variations were found in the earnings of gig workers, both within and between platforms,” he said citing a study.

Kabir then said the ridesharing industry in Bangladesh is worth $259 million and the market value of ridesharing startups in the country would reach $1 billion in the next five to seven years. Also, the remote platform economy or cloud-work generates $100 million annually.

“The platform economy model continues to attract workers as they feel the sector can offer cash flow and flexible work hours,” he added.

Internet access and the availability of smartphones have played a vital role in the growth and expansion of the gig economy in Bangladesh.

As the sector come of Bangladeshi gig economy has come of age, polices such as data protection, freedom of association and collective bargaining, occupational safety and social security for protection of workers’ interest are needed.

“If any ride sharing service providers fall into any accident, there is no insurance protection for the person. In case of delivery, similar would be found,” Kabir said, adding that some platform-based companies provide insurance.

But in case of Bangladesh, it is yet seen.

Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin, director general of the BIISS, said the emergence of the gig economy will be beneficial for countries like Bangladesh.

He said the gig economy has the potential to become a growth engine for the country by producing jobs for many people with an appropriate mix of policies, digital infrastructure and supporting services.

However, there are some challenges along the way as well, he said, adding that Bangladeshi freelancers need to work through other countries’ digital platform as the country does not have its own gig market.

Due to this reason, Bangladeshi freelancers need to spend more time for getting work orders.

Secondly, the payment methods of foreign websites seem difficult for Bangladeshi freelancers, particularly those living in rural areas, Uddin added.

Wahid Sharif, president of the Bangladesh Association of Contact Center and Outsourcing, said the largest markets for outsourcing is the United States, Europe and Japan.

He went on to say that the services outsourcing market is very big and there is opportunity for Bangladesh in this regard but what is needed are the right policies and support.

Still, there are other challenges.

“Many graduates are coming up but they are not skilled. They cannot even write and speak properly in Bangla,” he said while stressing on the need for improving communication skills.

“Country branding is important. The international community needs to know Bangladesh is an important destination,” Sharif added.

In another presentation, Mike Kazi, founder and chief executive officer of Apex DMIT Ltd, said language problems and communication skills are major challenges.

He also said there is a shortage of skilled manpower in specific domains, such as financial, medical, graphics and artificial intelligence.

Source: The Daily Star


Govt’s interest expenses jump over 22%

The government’s expenses on interest payments rose more than 22 per cent to Tk 40,792 crore in the first six months of the current fiscal year owing largely to higher expenditures on treasury bills, official figures showed.

The interest expenses stood at Tk 33,433 crore in the July-December half of 2021-22.

The interest expense was higher than the annual target because of a rise in interest rates for government securities, according to the quarterly debt bulletin of the finance ministry.

Treasury bills and bonds are one of the major tools the government uses when it comes to borrowing. The interest on the securities has gone up recently owing to the liquidity shortage in the banking system.

The sharp depreciation of the exchange rate against the US dollar was one of the factors behind the liquidity shortage.

The average yield of the treasury bills went past 7 per cent in November last year compared to a range of 6 per cent to 7 per cent previously.

The interest expenses in July-December were half of the annual allocation of Tk 80,875 crore.

Of the interest expenses, Tk 38,147 crore were made against domestic borrowing, which accounted for 52 per cent of the annual allocation of Tk 73,675 crore for 2022-23.

The payments on the loans in the banking system were Tk 14,657 crore. It was Tk 23,490 crore for the non-banking source.

External interest payments stood at Tk 2,645 crore, only 6 per cent of the total interest expenses in July-December.


Between July and December, the government borrowed Tk 48,024 crore, both from domestic and external sources, down more than 36 per cent from Tk 75,701 crore a year ago.

The government borrowed Tk 20,948 crore in the first half of FY23, down from Tk 25,445 crore a year earlier.

However, borrowing from both non-bank sources and through the sales of national savings certificates showed negative growth.

The government has set an annual borrowing target of Tk 40,001 crore from non-bank sources. The net borrowing in the segment was a negative Tk 4,497 crore.

Similarly, its net borrowing through national saving certificates was a negative Tk 3,107 crore. The sales target for the whole financial year is Tk 35,000 crore.

Various reform initiatives such as the online issuance process, logical investment limit, and introduction of multi-tier interest rates contributed to the reduction of the net sales of the savings instruments, said the bulletin.

The government’s external borrowing declined 14.17 per cent to Tk 27,078 crore in the first half of FY23. It was Tk 31,548 crore in the same half of 2021-22.

The total outstanding debt stock was Tk 13,59,898 crore as of December last year.

The outstanding domestic debt stood at Tk 864,105 crore. Of the sum, the government owes Tk 438,908 crore to the banking sector and Tk 425,196 crore to the non-banking source.

The outstanding external debt was Tk 495,794 crore as of 2022.

According to the bulletin, the total debt-to-GDP ratio was 30.56 per cent based on the FY23 GDP projection by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and is significantly lower than the 55 per cent threshold of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

External debt stock is around 11.14 per cent of GDP at the current market price, according to the bulletin, highlighting the well-debt position of the country.

Bangladesh has secured approval from the IMF for a $4.7 billion loan.

“The approval of the loan is a testament to Bangladesh’s strong macroeconomic performance amid global economic and political volatility, and builds confidence among development partners in the country’s economy,” the finance ministry’s bulletin said.

Source: The Daily Star


টানা ৪ বছর ধরে বিক্রি ও নিট মুনাফা কমছে ড্যাফডিল কম্পিউটার্স এর

সর্বশেষ চার বছর ধরে টানা বিক্রি ও কর-পরবর্তী নিট মুনাফা নিম্নমুখী পুঁজিবাজারে তালিকাভুক্ত তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি খাতের কোম্পানি ড্যাফোডিল কম্পিউটার্স লিমিটেডের। এ সময়ে প্রতি বছরই আগের বছরের তুলনায় কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি ও নিট মুনাফা কমেছে। এমনকি চলতি ২০২২-২৩ হিসাব বছরের দ্বিতীয় প্রান্তিকে (অক্টোবর-ডিসেম্বর) কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি সামান্য বাড়লেও নিট মুনাফা কমতে দেখা গেছে।

কোম্পানির আর্থিক প্রতিবেদন অনুসারে, ২০১৮-১৯ হিসাব বছর থেকে টানা ব্যবসা কমতে দেখা গেছে ড্যাফোডিল কম্পিউটার্সের। আলোচ্য হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি হয়েছে ৬০ কোটি ১২ লাখ টাকা। আগের হিসাব বছরে এ বিক্রি ছিল ৬৯ কোটি ১ লাখ টাকা। আলোচ্য হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটির গ্রস মুনাফা হয়েছে ১৭ কোটি ৩৯ লাখ টাকা। আগের হিসাব বছরে এ মুনাফা ছিল ২৩ কোটি ১৭ লাখ টাকা। আর ২০১৮-১৯ হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটির কর-পরবর্তী নিট মুনাফা হয়েছে ৭ কোটি ৩৩ লাখ টাকা। আগের হিসাব বছরে নিট মুনাফা হয়েছিল ১০ কোটি ৯১ লাখ টাকা।

আলোচ্য হিসাব বছরের ধারাবাহিকতায় পরের বছর অর্থাৎ ২০১৯-২০ হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি আরো কমে হয়েছে ৫৫ কোটি ৯ লাখ টাকা। এ বছরে কোম্পানিটির গ্রস মুনাফা হয়েছে ১৫ কোটি ৬৯ লাখ টাকা। আর বিভিন্ন খরচ শেষে কোম্পানিটির কর-পরবর্তী নিট মুনাফা হয়েছে ৪ কোটি ৫৫ লাখ টাকা। ২০২০-২১ হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি আরো কমে হয়েছে ৪৮ কোটি ১৪ লাখ টাকা। এ বছর গ্রস মুনাফা হয়েছে ১৪ কোটি ১১ লাখ টাকা। আর বিভিন্ন খরচ শেষে কর-পরবর্তী নিট মুনাফা হয়েছে ৩ কোটি ৪৮ লাখ টাকা।

সর্বশেষ ২০২১-২২ হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি আগের বছরের তুলনায় ২ লাখ টাকা কমে হয়েছে ৪৮ কোটি ৩৫ লাখ টাকা। এ সময়ে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি কমেছে শূন্য দশমিক ৪৩ শতাংশ। আলোচ্য হিসাব বছরে কোম্পানিটি গ্রস মুনাফা হয়েছে ১৩ কোটি ৮৮ লাখ টাকা। আগের বছরের তুলনায় সর্বশেষ বছরে কোম্পানিটির কর-পরবর্তী নিট মুনাফা কমেছে ১৩ লাখ টাকা বা ৩ দশমিক ৮০ শতাংশ।

এদিকে চলতি হিসাব বছরের দ্বিতীয় প্রান্তিকে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি হয়েছে ৯ কোটি ৬৪ লাখ টাকা। আগের হিসাব বছরের একই সময়ে এ আয় ছিল ৯ কোটি ৪৫ লাখ টাকা। এক বছরের ব্যবধানে কোম্পানিটির বিক্রি সামান্য বাড়লেও কর-পরবর্তী নিট মুনাফা শূন্য দশমিক ৭২ শতাংশ কমে হয়েছে ৮৭ লাখ টাকা। আগের হিসাব বছরের একই সময়ে কোম্পানিটির নিট মুনাফা ছিল ৮৮ লাখ টাকা।

Source:  Daily Bonik Barta

রাশিয়ার তেলে পশ্চিমা নিষেধাজ্ঞায় ক্ষতিতে ইউরোপ, লাভ তুলছে এশিয়া

স্যাক্সো ব্যাংকের পণ্যবিষয়ক কৌশলবিদ ওলে হ্যানসেন বলেন, ‘এটি এখন নিরাপদেই বলা যায় যে এশিয়ায় তেলের বেশ কিছু বড় ভোক্তা, বিশেষ করে ভারত ও চীন পশ্চিমা অবরোধের সবচেয়ে বড় বিজয়ী হিসেবে আবির্ভূত হয়েছে।’

কেপলারের তথ্য বলছে, জানুয়ারি মাস পর্যন্ত গত এক বছরে রাশিয়া পশ্চিমা অবরোধের কারণে এশিয়ায় তাদের অপরিশোধিত তেলের বিক্রি দ্বিগুণ করেছে। মার্কিন নিষেধাজ্ঞার আরেক শিকার ইরান তিন বছরের মধ্যে সবচেয়ে বেশি তেল বিক্রি করেছে। তাদের তেলের বড় ক্রেতা চীন।

ইউক্রেনে হামলার আগে রাশিয়ার প্রধান অপরিশোধিত তেল উরাল ইউরোপে ব্রেন্ট তেলের দামের চেয়ে মাত্র কয়েক ডলার কমে বিক্রি হতো। রেফিনিটিভ এইকনের তথ্য বলছে, রাশিয়া এখন একই তেল এশিয়াতে ২৪ ডলার কম দামে বিক্রি করছে। তবে কোনো কোনো সূত্র জানিয়েছে, আসলে ব্যারেলপ্রতি ১০ থেকে ১৫ ডলার কম নেওয়া হচ্ছে।

ভারতের কোনো রিফাইনারি যদি প্রতিদিন দুই লাখ ব্যারেল তেল পরিশোধন করে, তাহলে ১৫ ডলার কমে পাওয়া অপরিশোধিত তেলের কারণে ইউরোপের যেকোনো রিফাইনারির তুলনায় তারা দিনে ৩০ লাখ ডলার সাশ্রয় করতে পারবে। এক বছরে তাদের সাশ্রয় দাঁড়াবে ১০০ কোটি ডলার।

ভারতের জ্বালানিমন্ত্রী হারদীপ সিং পুরি গত মাসে বলেন, যদি ‘ভালো দাম অব্যাহত থাকে’ তাহলে ভারত রাশিয়ার কাছ থেকে তেল কেনা চালিয়ে যাবে।

এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়াম

১৯৮০-এর দশকে বিষয়টি শুরু হয়। সেই সময় তেল উৎপাদনকারীরা তাদের অপরিশোধিত তেলের জন্য একটি দাম নির্ধারণ করা শুরু করে, যে দাম এশিয়ার দেশগুলোর জন্য কিছুটা বেশি ধরা হতো। এসব দেশ পুরোপুরি আমদানির ওপর নির্ভরশীল ছিল। ফলে তাদের ওই নির্ধারিত দামেই তেল কিনতে হতো।

এই প্রিমিয়াম প্রথা বিলুপ্ত করতে এশিয়ার দেশগুলো একসময় চেষ্টা করেছে। এর অংশ হিসেবে তারা তেলের চাহিদা বাড়াতে জ্বালানি পরিশোধনে বিনিয়োগ বাড়ায় এবং দর-কষাকষিতে সক্ষমতা বাড়াতে চেষ্টা করে।

তেলের আন্তর্জাতিক বাজারে যে পরিবর্তন এসেছে, তা সৌদি আরব এবং কিছু প্রধান রপ্তানিকারকের দিকে তাকালেই বোঝা যায়। সৌদি আরবের প্রধান তেল আরব লাইটস গত ফেব্রুয়ারি পর্যন্ত তিন মাস সময়ে এশিয়ার ক্রেতাদের কাছে কম দামে বিক্রি করা হয়েছে। তবে মার্চ ও এপ্রিলে সরবরাহ করা হবে, এমন তেলের দাম খানিকটা বাড়ানো হয়েছে।

তারপরও গত নভেম্বর থেকে এশিয়ার ক্রেতাদের জন্য সৌদি আরব তার আরব লাইটসের দাম ব্যারেলপ্রতি ৩ দশমিক ৩৫ ডলার কমিয়েছে। অন্যদিকে রাস তানুরা থেকে ইউরোপের ক্রেতাদের জন্য সরবরাহ করা তেলের দাম একই সময়ে ১০ সেন্ট বাড়ানো হয়েছে।

নভেম্বর থেকে ইরাক ও কুয়েতের মতো অন্য ওপেক সদস্যরাও এশিয়ার ক্রেতাদের জন্য দাম কমিয়েছে। ইরাক তাদের বসরা মিডিয়াম ও হেভি তেলের দাম এশিয়ার জন্য কমালেও ইউরোপের জন্য বাড়িয়ে দিয়েছে।

স্যাক্সো ব্যাংকের ওলে হ্যানসেন বলেন, ‘ইরান ও রাশিয়া এখন দামের ব্যাপারে প্রতিযোগিতা করছে। তাই মধ্যপ্রাচ্যের অন্য তেল উৎপাদনকারীদের অবশ্যই দাম সমন্বয় করতে হবে। আর এর ফলাফল হলো, ইউরোপের জন্য তুলনামূলকভাবে দাম একটু বেশি পড়বে।’

সরবরাহের উৎস হারাচ্ছে ইউরোপ

এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়াম নিয়ে দীর্ঘদিন ধরে আপত্তি জানিয়ে আসছিল ভারত। এসঅ্যান্ডপি প্ল্যাটসে দীর্ঘদিন ধরে কাজ করার সময় জর্জ মন্টেপেক ব্রেন্ট তেলের দাম নির্ধারণ নিয়ে কাজ করেছেন। তিনি বলছেন, বাকি বিশ্বের তুলনায় এশিয়ার দেশগুলোর হাতে বিকল্প কম ছিল।

‘এশিয়ার দেশগুলোকে অতিরিক্ত দাম দিতেই হয়েছে। অন্যদিকে ইউরোপ ও আমেরিকার নিজস্ব সরবরাহ ছিল,’ বলেন মন্টেপেক। কিন্তু এখন ইউরোপ তাদের অপরিশোধিত তেল সরবরাহের অন্যতম উৎস রাশিয়াকে হারাচ্ছে এবং তাদের আরও দূর থেকে তেল আনতে হচ্ছে। ফলে জর্জ মন্টেপেক বলছেন, তাত্ত্বিকভাবে, ইউরোপের জন্য মধ্যপ্রাচ্যের প্রচলিত দাম খুব খারাপ হয়ে দাঁড়িয়েছে।

২০২৩ সালে ইউরোপের জন্য আরব লাইট অপরিশোধিত তেলের দাম কখনো এশিয়ার জন্য ঠিক করা দামের একেবারে কাছাকাছি এসেছে কিংবা কখনো কখনো তা ছাড়িয়েও গেছে। ২০২১ এবং ২০২২ সালের প্রথম দিকে এশিয়ায় তেলের দাম বেশি রাখা হয়েছিল।

‘মুক্তবাজার বলে কিছু নেই’

ইন্টারন্যাশনাল এনার্জি এজেন্সির সাবেক কর্মকর্তা ও একজন স্বাধীন বিশ্লেষক নিল অ্যাটকিনসন বলেন, পশ্চিমের জন্য রাশিয়ার তেলের সরবরাহ কমে যাওয়া এবং বাজারের চেয়ে কম দামে ভারতের কাছে তেল বিক্রি এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়ামের বিষয়টিকেই খরচের খাতায় পাঠিয়ে দিয়েছে।

নিল অ্যাটকিনসন বলেন, ‘এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়াম কিংবা বিশেষ স্বল্পমূল্য, এ ধরনের বিষয়গুলো সত্যিকার অর্থে আর তেমন কাজ করে না। পরিস্থিতি আসলে খুবই বদলে গেছে। একটা স্বাভাবিক সময়ে যে মুক্তবাণিজ্য আমরা দেখি, সেটি এখন আর নেই।’

ইউরোপের অপরিশোধিত তেলের দাম বেড়ে যাওয়ার আরও একটি উদাহরণ দেওয়া যেতে পারে। গত ১৬ ফেব্রুয়ারি নরওয়ের জোহান এসভারড্রাপ অপরিশোধিত তেল ব্রেন্টের চেয়ে বেশি দামে বিক্রি হয়েছে। গত নভেম্বরে এই তেল বাজারের প্রচলিত দামের চেয়ে ৫ দশমিক ১৫ ডলার কম দামে বিক্রি হয়েছিল। এটা এখনো পরিষ্কার নয়, চালানটি কারা কিনেছে।

এসভারড্রাপ পাওয়া যায় ইউরোপের সবচেয়ে বড় তেলের খনি থেকে। ২০২০ সালে প্রথম এই তেল বাজারে আসে এবং শুরুর দিকে বেশির ভাগ তেলই এশিয়ায় রপ্তানি হতো।

ফেব্রুয়ারিতে ইউক্রেনে হামলার পর রাশিয়ার ওপর যে নিষেধাজ্ঞা আরোপ করা হয়, তারপর থেকে এসভারড্রাপ খনির বেশির ভাগ তেল ইউরোপেই বিক্রি করা হয়েছে। অনেক রিফাইনারি রাশিয়ার উরাল অপরিশোধিত তেল বাদ দিয়ে এসভারড্রাপ শোধন করা শুরু করে।

তবে ইউরোপ দীর্ঘ সময় ধরে তেলের জন্য অতিরিক্ত মূল্য দিয়ে যাবে, এটা অনেকে মনে করেন না। ইউক্রেনে যুদ্ধ শেষ হলে আবার হয়তো রাশিয়ার তেল ইউরোপে সরবরাহ শুরু হবে।

স্যাক্সো ব্যাংকের ওলে হ্যানসেন বলেন, ‘আমি বিশ্বাস করি, যুদ্ধ শেষ হলে স্বাভাবিক অবস্থা ফিরে আসবে এবং নিষেধাজ্ঞা উঠে যাবে। এটা ঘটলে রাশিয়া সব গ্রাহকের জন্য একই শর্তে তেল বিক্রি করার জন্য প্রতিযোগিতা করবে।’

Source: Prothom Alo


Japanese entrepreneurs keen to invest more in Bangladesh

Japanese entrepreneurs are willing to invest more in Bangladesh to take advantage of available manpower and market access facilities, as well as explore the potential of the local market, according to business leaders, envoys, and policymakers from Japan.

“About 70% of Japanese companies in Bangladesh have expressed their willingness to expand their investment in one to two units,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister of economy, trade, and industry of Japan, in a video message at a parallel session styled “Japan-Bangladesh Trade and Investment: Opportunities and Way Forward” at the Bangladesh Business Summit 2023 on Sunday.

To mark its 50th founding anniversary, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has organised the three-day summit beginning on 11 March in partnership with the foreign and commerce ministries and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka.

“Many Japanese companies are interested in investing in Bangladesh. In 2021, foreign direct investment (FDI) from Japan reached a high of $910 million,” the minister said, adding that apart from the textile industry, the companies are also investing in the automobile, motorcycle, energy, and IT sectors to diversify the industries of Bangladesh.

Many Japanese companies are contributing to developing infrastructure in Bangladesh, like the Jamuna Bridge, Matarbari Deep Seaport, and the expansion of the Dhaka International Airport, said the Japanese minister.

In the keynote presentation, Takeshi Mamiya, managing executive officer of Marubeni ASEAN Pet Ltd, said a number of Japanese companies are providing high-efficiency technology support to produce high-value products like outerwear and suits.

Bangladesh is set to graduate from LDC status by 2026, and entering the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan is most important for Bangladesh’s continued development of textile industries, he added.

Thanks to a joint study group launched last December between the two governments, Bangladesh’s RMG exports to Japan will not be affected after LDC graduation, hoped Takeshi Mamiya.

The Japanese government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) are committed to providing concessionary loans for the infrastructure development of Bangladesh, as infrastructure is the backbone of a nation’s development, he added.

“There are more than 5,000 Japanese companies operating their businesses in Thailand, 2,000 in Vietnam, and 1,500 in Indonesia, while in Bangladesh, only 340 companies are registered due to physiological distance,” said the managing executive officer of Marubeni, and he hoped this business summit would help to reduce this physiological distance.

He urges the government to develop a policy to create an environment that acts as a level playing field to attract foreign investment, and Bangladeshi companies may join hands with Japanese companies to invite them to Bangladesh for knowledge and technology transfer.

Taro Kawachi, managing director of Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Ltd, said in the last one year 175 Japanese companies have visited their SEZ, registering visitor arrival growth of about 400% compared to a year ago.

This economic zone aims to facilitate Japanese quality in Bangladesh to attract investment, he said, adding that they started a part of the zone in December last year and that already three Japanese companies, including Singer, have invested here.

Myungo-Ho Lee, president of the Japanese commerce and industry association in Dhaka and general manager of Mitsubishi Corporation’s Dhaka office, said 10 Japanese companies are joining this business summit from outside the country to explore the investment opportunity.

Abdul Haque, an advisor at FBCCI, said that by cashing in on Japanese investment, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia have made significant progress in their industrialisation and export diversification.

He said Bangladesh has a chance to bring more Japanese investment by establishing a special economic zone for Japanese investors, and many investors may come in the days to come. The government should reform policies and rules to make them investment-friendly.

The next ten years will be very crucial for Bangladesh, he said, adding, “We must take all reforms in the Japanese standard to promote investment.”

Japanese Ambassador Kiminori Iwama also spoke at the event, while foreign minister AK Abdul Momen sent a video message and Lokman Hossain Miah, executive chairman of Bida, made the introductory remarks.


Source: The Business Standerd


1% lower limit lifted, floor re-imposed for the 169 scrips

Infograph: TBS

Infograph: TBS


  • Now the 169 scrips’ prices can fall up to 10% a day until hitting the floor price
  • Of the 168 scrips, one mutual fund was delisted in the meantime
  • Asia Insurance and Far Chemical were added
  • New floor will be equal to the average of closing prices from 26 Feb to 1 Mar
  • But if the previous floor is lower for any of the 169 scrips, that one will be considered as floor

In an effort to end an ineffective downside restriction, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) reinstated the floor price for 169 small-cap scrips on Wednesday.

On 21 December 2022, the market regulator removed the floor for 168 stocks and restricted their daily fall limit to 1%.

As a result of the repeal of that order, the prices of those scrips can fall up to the regular lower circuit breaker limit – 10% a day – until hitting the floor price.

Of the 168 scrips, one mutual fund was delisted in the meantime, and the regulator added Asia Insurance and Far Chemical, making it a list of 169 scrips in total.

Now, the average of the closing prices of those 169 scrips for four trading sessions – 26 February to 1 March – would be their new floor prices, according to the BSEC’s 1 March order.

But if the previous floor price, that was announced on 28 July last year, is lower than the new floor, then the lower one would be effective, according to the order.

The 169 scrips represent roughly 5% of the market capitalisation of all the listed scrips in the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).

Stockbrokers and investors said the commission’s 21 December move to withdraw the floor from 168 scrips was a blow to a large number of investors, as 100 of those scrips lost their market value as of 1 March, including the 39 that fell by 20%-35%.

The worst part of the fall was investors were unable to exit from the falling knives as there had been no buyers due to the narrow bottom circuit, investors said.

However, 27 of the scrips were above the 28 July floor on 1 March, and the remaining were flat as the minimum tick price gap was higher than 1% of the scrips’ market prices.

The smallest gap between two prices of a share or mutual fund is Tk0.1 in the DSE and CSE.

The floor prices and the narrowed down lower circuit drastically affected the liquidity in the bourses, as investors were deprived of exit opportunities regardless of whether they needed money to withdraw from investment accounts, or to buy any other security.

When buyers wait for a scrip’s price to fall, they refrain from bidding for it. And at an extreme point of pessimism, the number of DSE scrips having bidders dropped drastically to 62, and 337 of the 399 DSE shares, mutual funds and corporate bonds had no buyer.

However, as the regulator on Sunday and Monday busted market rumours that it might withdraw the floor price from another set of scrips, the market started to recover and 138 scrips had bidders during the closing bell on Wednesday.

79 of the 169 scrips came back in active trading, up from only 15 on Sunday, while of the 232 scrips with intact floor, 173 were stuck there and 59 were trading above floor on the day.

How the market performed on Wednesday

Meanwhile, the daily transaction increased to over Tk450 crore, which fell below Tk300 crore a day during the decline last week.

DSEX, the broad-based index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), from its recent bottom of 6,175 on Monday morning, hit 6,234 in the middle of Wednesday session. But adamant sellers dragged the index down to even lower than the previous close.

“The market saw mixed reactions as the session began with an upbeat momentum, but the morning optimism faded as risk-averse investors booked profits, enticed by the recent price appreciation of selective issues,” said EBL Securities in its daily market commentary.

DSEX finally closed at 6,214 which was 0.04% lower, and out of the total DSE scrips, 68 advanced and 80 declined.

“However, opportunist investors continued to take positions in beaten down issues with anticipation of quick gains since they expect positive momentum in the market, as the floor price is likely to be intact for the foreseeable future,” added the brokerage firm in its commentary.

On the sectoral front, IT contributed the maximum 16.2% of the DSE turnover, followed by life insurance and food.

As the late hour selloff wiped out the early hour intraday gains, most of the sector displayed mixed returns at the end.

General insurance registered the highest gain of 1.5%, followed by life insurance and tannery.

Paper with 2.4% correction led the losers, followed by travel and jute sectors.

Source: TBS News


Reduced corporate tax rates yield no benefits

Companies in Bangladesh are failing to benefit from the reduced corporate tax rates owing to limits on cash transactions imposed by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in the current fiscal year, said two leading chambers yesterday.

The tax authority has cut the corporate tax rate by 2.5 percentage points to 27.5 per cent for 2022-23.

But it comes with a condition: a non-listed company can avail the reduced tax benefit if it uses bank transfers in order to receive all revenues and receipts, make all single transactions exceeding Tk 5 lakh, and execute expenses and investments worth more than Tk 36 lakh annually.

In case of failure to do so, companies will have to pay 30 per cent taxes on their profits.

In separate tax proposals submitted to the NBR yesterday for 2023-24 beginning from July, the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) called for the relaxation of the provision of cash transactions as non-cash payments or cashless transaction are not widely accepted in the economy.

“More than 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s economy is informal. So, it is not possible for companies to take benefit of the reduced corporate tax rates,” said MCCI President Md Saiful Islam.

He placed the tax, value-added tax and customs duty-related proposals on behalf of the country’s oldest chamber at a pre-budget meeting with the high-ups of the NBR at the headquarters of the revenue board in Agargaon.

The MCCI, which represents large companies that generate around 40 per cent of the state’s revenue, said industries are expanding under the present context, in which both formal and informal systems are at play.

The current additional tax exposure exceeding the cash payment limit of Tk 36 lakh annually is a barrier for businesses to thrive on the benefits of the reduced corporate tax rate, said Snehasish Barua, partner at Snehasish Mahmud & Co, a chartered accountancy firm, while presenting the tax proposals on behalf of the FICCI.

“It needs to be acknowledged that a major portion of the economy of Bangladesh is still informal, where non-cash payments are still not widely accepted.”

Both chambers also complained of higher effective tax rates because of the disallowance of expenses by the tax officials claimed by the companies and the higher rate of tax deducted at source.

“We can’t enjoy the benefit of the reduction of corporate taxes. In reality, the tax rate goes up to 50 per cent for listed companies, although the present rate is 20 per cent,” Barua said.

“The effective tax rate is extravagant,” said FICCI President Naser Ezaz Bijoy.

Though the applicable corporate tax is 20 per cent and 27.5 per cent for publicly traded and private limited companies, respectively, the effective tax rate is much higher due to the implication of some provisions in the tax laws and the deduction of tax at source, he said.

“Therefore, we are proposing to reduce the effective tax rate in conjunction with the tax rate in our neighbouring countries.”

The FICCI demanded rationalisation of the tax deducted at source, saying in certain cases, the tax is considered as the minimum tax for that source of income.

In response, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said a lot of transactions and expenses are done through outsourcing and payments can be done without cash.

He urged the FICCI to give a list of items that are purchased using cash.

The FICCI suggested the NBR collect the data on deposits against bank accounts in order to find out whether taxpayers have declared them in their returns.

“Some taxpayers may not declare all of their bank accounts in their tax returns in order to evade taxes,” said the FICCI.

“This reconciliation process can be automated,” said Barua.

The FICCI also suggested the tax authority update the land value to reflect market realities and reduce the registration cost and tax rates to curb the scope of undeclared incomes.

At present, land and properties are mainly transferred based on the official rates although the actual value of the properties is higher.

Barua said: “This creates black money.”

In the budget proposals, the FICCI demanded the NBR make the VAT online system user-friendly.

“It is getting difficult for users to use the online portal. If the suggested improvements are incorporated, the portal will be user-friendly.”

The MCCI called for bringing down the number of areas where the submission of the proof of tax returns is mandatory from the present 38 and automating the tax system.

Muneem said: “The present VAT law is designed to implement through automation. If we want to implement it properly, we will have to go there. We are working to make the VAT return system easy.”